Foreigners ‘excluded from job market’

If people with foreign backgrounds in Stockholm had the same employment rate as Swedes, another 50,000 people would be in work. This is the claim made by the man in charge of helping foreigners in Stockholm to integrate into Swedish society.

With figures showing the number of available jobs in the capital rising, foreigners are still finding it hard to integrate. According to a survey by Stockholm City, those parts of Stockholm with a high proportion of immigrants also have the highest rates of unemployment. In addition, a large number are employed in jobs for which they are overqualified.

This is not good enough, says Sam Yildirim, Integration Director at Stockholm County Council.

“As shareholders in Sweden AB, we cannot be satisfied with the way that we are using our resources,” he said in a press release.

“How can we just disregard such a great pool of energy and competence that could help the country’s development?” he asked.

Other groups that are excluded from the job market are the over-55s, and those who have been unemployed for more than a year.

Those who benefit most from the upturn in jobs market are people with degrees, and those who have been unemployed for short periods, the county council claims.

For the Moderate Party one solution to the problem is that companies that give a job to someone who has been unemployed for more than a year should automatically get tax breaks. At the moment such incentives are granted on a case-by-case basis by the employment office.

The Moderate Party says that everyone who has been outside the job market for more than a year should have a right to the support, whether they have been unemployed or on other forms of benefit.

For Stockholm County Council, another way to tackle unemployment is to improve contact between immigrants and employers. At the Recruitment Bazaar, which took place this weekend in Stockholm, over forty companies and government agencies were on hand to meet foreigners trying to get onto the jobs market.

“By using immigrants’ language and cultural competences, companies can open themselves up to new markets, both in Sweden and internationally,” says Yildirim.